In a 2019 annual report, the CFTC Division of Enforcement (the "Division") reviewed key metrics from the past year, including number of cases filed and the amount of relief provided. The CFTC reported:

  • the filing of 69 enforcement actions, higher than the past five year average;

  • approximately 140 pending litigation cases;

  • awards of more than $1.3 billion in monetary relief, representing a 39 percent increase from fiscal year 2018 and the fourth-highest total of monetary relief in CFTC history;

  • significant filings of spoofing-related enforcement actions;

  • that 65 percent of all enforcement action cases involved commodities fraud, manipulative conduct and/or spoofing-related charges;

  • more enforcement actions in conjunction with criminal cases than in any year prior; and

  • an emphasis on individual accountability, stating: "[i]t's not enough simply to hold the responsible companies accountable. The responsible individuals must be held accountable too."

The CFTC qualified the numbers-driven results of the annual report by:

  • noting that ". . . a strong enforcement program is about much more than [the end of year numbers];" and

  • declaring that "Federal agencies should not be motivated to hit certain headline numbers when enforcing the law. And we in the Division are not."

The CFTC also noted the distribution of an Enforcement Manual in May of 2019.


While regulators may say that enforcement statistics don't matter, they obviously do, since every regulator touts its enforcement statistics. If they don't matter, why talk about them? If they do matter, what about them does? Do higher numbers reflect better enforcement? Or more aggressive enforcement? Current enforcement or past efforts? (These questions are appropriate to ask of (almost?) every agency that has an enforcement division.)